Super League: Salford Red Devils hold on to score victory over Wakefield
Last Updated: 16/02/14 10:01pm
Salford Red Devils began their new era on a successful note but Wakefield almost spoiled the party with a tremendous second-half rally.
In front of a stadium record crowd of 7,102, the excitement began with a parachute drop into the AJ Bell Stadium by the more famous Red Devils and Salford owner Marwan Koukash - who had predicted the opening game would be more enjoyable than the first time he had sex - was all smiles at half-time when his new-look team led 18-0.
But Koukash was in a mean-looking mood throughout the second half as the Wildcats, inspired by debutants Paul McShane and Pita Godinet and veteran forward Ali Lauitiiti, struck back with three tries in the third quarter.
Brian Noble's team, Super League wooden spoon winners in 2013, were good enough to hold on for an 18-14 opening-round win but the former Great Britain boss will know he has plenty to do if he is to turn the Devils into a championship-winning team.
He had 13 of his 14 close-season signings in the starting line-up and saw the biggest of them, England stand-off Rangi Chase, limp out of the action midway through the first half.
It did not seem to matter as Salford scored three tries without reply, inspired by Chase's half-back partner Tim Smith, the former Wakefield scrum-half.
Second rower Harrison Hansen set the tone with an early crunching tackle on Wakefield winger Peter Fox which gave his side the position from which they opened the scoring, his former Wigan team-mate Gareth Hock touching down after Junior Sa'u had palmed the ball back from Chase's grubber kick.
Full-back Jake Mullaney kicked the first of his three goals to put Salford into a 6-0 lead which they gradually built on.
Wakefield, who lost one of the newcomers, Jimmy Keinhorst, to injury after 17 minutes, worked their way into the game and might have drawn level had Fox been able to take Richard Mathers' pass on 19 minutes but the Red Devils had things very much their own way up to half-time.
When Chase limped out of the action, Smith stepped up to the mark, laying on tries for Harrison and substitute Andrew Dixon in a six-minute spell just before half-time, when the home side led 18-0.
Godinet, one of three new signings who have been in the country less than a week, sparked Wakefield's fightback, scoring one try and creating another within 10 minutes of the re-start.
His pinpoint pass got second rower Matt Ryan charging through a gap in the home defence before he intercepted a Shane Howarth pass to go over himself.
Paul Sykes succeeded with his second conversion attempt to leave the Wildcats trailing by eight points and they thought they had scored again on 53 minutes when Lauitiiti barged his way to the line but referee James Child decided he had not grounded the ball.
Lauitiiti was not to be denied, however, for the former New Zealand international proved unstoppable on the hour as he crashed over with a trio of defenders on his back.
Sykes was wide with the goalkick but the visitors were on a roll and they might have scored again eight minutes before the end when left winger Reece Lyne dropped Godinet's floated pass.
First Utility Super League
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants38 - 14Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings46 - 16Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield Wildcats22 - 40Wigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC4 - 24Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos10 - 29Warrington Wolves
St Helens34 - 16Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsLiveHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan WarriorsvsHull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Salford Red DevilsvsHuddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 30th May
Salford Red DevilsvsWidnes Vikings
Hull FCvsHull K R
Leeds RhinosvsWigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
St HelensvsWarrington Wolves
Castleford TigersvsWakefield Wildcats
Thu 4th Jun
Widnes VikingsvsHull FC
Fri 5th Jun
St Helens0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sun 7th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Hull K R0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 11th Jun
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 12th Jun
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 13th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsHull FC
Sun 14th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Hull K R0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Thu 18th Jun
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Fri 19th Jun
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sat 20th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsWakefield Wildcats
Sun 21st Jun
Hull K R0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Super League 2014, round one
Kirk Dixon passed the one thousand point mark for Castleford who got their campaign off to a winning start with victory at Bradford.
Tom Briscoe scored a debut hat-trick as Leeds beat Hull KR 34-6 in front of a record crowd at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
Salford won their first game of the new season after handing debuts to all 13 of their starting line up against Wakefield.
- Dixon 'the ultimate pro'
- Noble happy with opening win
- Betts: Tougher tasks ahead
- McDermott praise for Briscoe
- Vikings on the rampage
- Briscoe stars for Rhinos
- Tigers rally to beat Bulls
- Cummins allays turmoil fears
- Radford relieved at narrow win
- Hull cling on for victory
- Vikings v Broncos: Teams
- Red Devils v Wildcats: Teams
- Bulls v Tigers: Teams
- Hull KR v Rhinos: Teams
- Walsh: Good start for Saints
- Saints storm past Wolves
- Hull v Catalan Dragons: Teams
- Wolves v Saints: Teams
- Rovers to set crowd record
- Wellens: new boys boost Saints
- Forward thinking from Wolves